How to “Create Customer Success®” for every customer
We courted this customer, we nurtured this customer, we pitched this customer, and each time we got a rejection. That customer – a company we’ll call ToughNut Inc. – didn’t even want to give us a shot. They were loyal and perfectly happy with their specialty chemical suppliers. Until a couple of weeks ago.
One of our Account Managers, who had not given up, received a frantic call from a ToughNut executive. “We are going to literally shut down our plant tomorrow,” he said. “We can’t get our raw materials.” They asked if we had a particular specialty chemical in stock, an offset material that would keep their plant up and running. We did, and our team immediately moved into action. Within 24 hours of that initial conversation, our material was inside ToughNut’s plant maintaining continuous production. We also received orders from a second ToughNut facility.
Nothing less than exceptional client experience
Not only were we receiving additional orders, the emails came too with messages like:
“Oh, my gosh, I wish my other suppliers were half as good as you guys.”
“This is amazing.”
These kinds of stories happen consistently at Maroon Group. We cracked ToughNut, not with slick presentations, fancy dinners or deep discounts. We did it with a sales team that persevered and service so extraordinary that it went beyond customer “service” to customer “success” -- as in “Creating Customer Success®!” Yes, we trademarked it. Those three words are part of the “secret sauce” of Maroon’s competitive advantage, of our success and powerful reputation. We’ve decided to not keep it a secret at all. In fact, we love to share it. I urge you to replicate Creating Customer Success®, copy it. You’ll get the same remarkable results we do.
Key factors in Creating Customer Success®
So, you might ask how we do it; how did we get here. Well, the simple answer is intentionally but I’ve outlined the key components.
1. We created the right culture and environment.
Since the late 1970’s when Maroon was born, we’ve woven customer service into every part of our business. It is literally everywhere including:
- the relationships our sales team maintains with customers.
- on the walls of our offices and warehouse
- on our website
- on all of our documents
- in our email signatures
- in every employee performance review
- in our mission and values
It’s always on our minds.
2. We found out what customers wanted.
A couple years ago, we hired a firm to research our market, both the companies we did business with and those – like ToughNut -- that we did not. This was blind research, and we remained anonymous. The firm interviewed plant workers, senior executives, tech and lab workers – anyone who might have a say in the decision about a supplier. We wanted to know exactly what they wanted and needed. The results were clear. Customers wanted consistent products, consistent delivery and consistent supply.
3. We made customer needs our “products.”
We are not a manufacturer. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a product. We decided to take those customer desires -- product consistency; on-time, in full delivery; reliable inventory – and turn them into our widgets.
4. Using data, we set out to perfect each facet of our business.
The adage “what’s measured is managed” cannot be overstated. We began to gather all the quantifiable data we could on any of our operations and processes that might affect those three products -- from order entry to shipping performance to customer complaints. We began measuring them all. Using the data we gleaned, we launched a formalized program to spot and fix the problems and to find and expand what works well.
5. We share the results.
Accountability is a great motivator. Visit our website homepage right now and you’ll find current statistics on our three “products.” You’ll see that things are working.
- Returns or complaints on less than 0.1% of orders
- On-time, in-full delivery on 96% of orders
- An average of more than two months of inventory on hand.
6. Add a human touch
While data is powerful, business is done by people, like sales and support teams that have great relationships with customers. Call Maroon and a human being will answer the phone. Chances are, it’ll be LePreece Thomas, who cherishes her role as “Director of First Impressions.” We’ve empowered our sales team, our customer-service team – all employees – when it comes to helping customers. If someone calls with a problem, our team can forgo approvals and permissions, use their judgment and do something revolutionary: solve the problem. Their answers are never “we can’t do that” or “let me check with my boss on that.” Instead, they say things like, “let’s make this happen!”
7. Never stop
Creating Customer Success® is a long game. There is no finish line. The clock never hits double zero. Your company, like Maroon, must make this a part of life. You can always find more goals, more service improvements, more customers to help … And more ToughNuts to crack.
Chief Operating Officer
Maroon Group LLC
1390 Jaycox Road Avon, Ohio 44011